La Ciotat Shipyard – A Visit
Authored by MARTIN GLEESON managing director of Oceania Marine whilst on a business trip to Cannes and Monaco Boat Shows – 19th September 2011
As the operator of one of the top shipyards in New Zealand it is hard for me to admit this but if I had a dream and in it I dreamed of the perfect shipyard it would be similar in many respects to La Ciotat shipyard situated in the South of France on the Mediterranean Sea. Ever since I saw pictures of the new facilities at La Ciotat in the yachting press it excited my imagination and I very much wanted to visit it.
So when, during the spare time between the two boat shows, Lars Bjorklund of Ocean independence (Auckland Office) offered to tee me up for a visit of La Ciotat with his good mate Ben Mennem of Composite Works I was over the moon to say the least. Lars and I, together with his partner John Vitali of Diverse Projects have been working together for a couple of years now. As a result Lars knew full well my frustrations at operational level and was keen to show me a ‘state of the art shipyard’.
We set off from Antibes on a beautiful sunny September day but as we got closer to our destination the wind picked up and by the time we arrived at La Ciotat it was full gale. Both Lars and Ben dismissed the breeze with typical understatement – “It blows a bit around here most of the time”. We managed to have useful time with Ben, during his very busy schedule, and discuss the usual shipyard stuff before he gave us free access to the shipyard. In all honesty I do not think that my words would do justice to this facility so I made a photo diary of the visit with comments and invite you to take a look via the following link:
La Ciotat is an integrated haulout facility which through its range of equipment can haul a wide variety of craft and transport them to outside hardstand or to specialised undercover spaces. It can do this on a scale few shipyards can match. Having seen this shipyard first hand has filled my mind full of ideas for improvements in our own shipyard although I will have to do them with a lot less zero’s after the Dollar sign than what was spent at La Ciotat – make that a lot, lot, lot less …….